What is Structural Engineering and Why is it Important?

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Structural Engineering

Posted: 11 May 2018

If you are thinking about getting any kind of building work done, you will most likely need to think about structural engineering too.

Now if you’re new to all of this – you may be asking yourself ‘what is structural engineering?

Luckily, it’s not a hard concept to grasp.

In fact, if you keep reading, you’ll learn all that you need to know about structural engineering, why it’s important and how it applies to your future plans.

Let’s begin!

What is Structural Engineering?

Structural engineering relates to the design of a building so that it is sturdy and able to withstand the loads placed on it. Structural engineering work is carried out by structural engineers and so the rest of this post will look at why structural engineers are important too.

One of the key aims of a structural engineer is to make sure that a building can take its own weight. There are two ways a structural engineer will go about this goal.

The first is to investigate the design of a structure. Structural engineers will put a lot of thought into creating a design that will allow a building to hold itself up, without collapsing.

A lot of emphasis is also placed on external strains. Depending on the geographical location of a structure, the external demands placed upon it are going to vary.

A unique approach to this problem will be required for each and every building a structural engineer deals with. Therefore, it is the job of a structural engineer to make sure a building is able to withstand the relevant demands placed upon it, by the surrounding environment.

In some cases, a structural engineer will not be involved in the construction of a builder. Rather they will be called in so that they can investigate the structural integrity of an existing building.

This includes a new building or one that has recently had some work done to it. A structural engineer might check that the building in question is in line with regulatory and design requirements.

Different locations are going to have different rules and regulations when it comes to construction rules. Different kinds of buildings will also have different kinds of requirements. As a result, structural engineers may specialize in servicing certain locations. It may be the case that they specialize in specific kinds of buildings too.

Why is a Structural Engineer Important?

Structural engineers are important because they’re the people that make sure a building is built to a high standard. They make sure the building will not collapse and hurt the people inside – or in the surrounding area.

Suppose a building is built in a location with a lot of earthquakes. The structural engineer will be able to tell if the building is built well enough to withstand an earthquake.

If not, the engineer will make suggestions on what can be done to improve things. A lot of these suggestions are made in line with existing codes and regulations designed for specific events.

Structural engineers are also called in for mundane things too. For instance, they might be asked to check if the structural design of a building is safe in the event of a fire.

One of the key benefits of a structural engineer is that they can make these suggestions, whilst taking into account budget. For example, if new materials are needed, the engineer can suggest which one will be best, for the budget in question.

On top of that, if an architect has a particularly adventurous design in mind, a structural engineer is especially important. The engineer can provide guidance on how to pull off a dramatic design, whilst maintaining the structural integrity of the building. As a result, architects should always consult with structural engineers, whenever a new build is being proposed.

Do I Need a Structural Engineer for My Home Improvement Project?

It’s hard to say if you are going to need a structural engineer for your home improvement project, without knowing what you are planning to do. If you are going to be making big changes to your home, that aren’t purely aesthetic (such as painting), then contacting a structural engineer is a good idea.

Examples of such projects might include –

  • Doing a Loft Conversion
  • Adjusting the walls in your house
  • Removing/adding doors and windows
  • Getting rid of a fireplace/chimney

This list is not exhaustive. If you have any doubt, it can be a good idea to err on the side of caution and speak to an engineer. Whilst it can cost you money, you will get reassurance and peace of mind in return.

How Can I Find a Structural Engineer?

Finding a reputable structural engineer company such as, www.structural-innovations.com, is tricky if you’ve never worked with one before. As mentioned, you will rarely need to use a structural engineer in isolation. After all, you’ll likely need a structural engineer if you’re looking to get some work done to your house – such as a new loft.

Because of this, you can speak to the people doing this ‘other work’ and ask them if they can recommend a good engineer. They might be able to point you in the direction of their ‘go to’ engineer, who always helps them with this sort of stuff.

If you would like a more impartial engineer, that is fine. You can just perform a quick search online to help you find one. However, make sure you do as much due diligence as possible.

Ensure that your chosen engineer is properly licensed. You might also want to ask for references and testimonials. This will help you get a good grasp on the quality of their skills and their work.

Sturdy Structure?

Before reading this post, you may have been asking yourself – ‘what is structural engineering? Hopefully, though, you should now know all that you need to when it comes to this topic.

As mentioned, structural engineering is something you need to think about if you are getting any kind of building work done. However, odds are you know nothing about structural engineering and so you’ll need to bring in a structural engineer.

If you are going to work with a structural engineer, make sure you hire someone who is fully licensed and educated. They will be doing important work and so it is important you do not cut any corners. You need to make sure your building is going to be able to withstand external and internal demands.

The process of finding a structural engineer can be tough. But should you persevere it won’t be long before your dream building becomes a safe, well-built reality.

Want to learn more about improving your home? Check out our home and garden section to learn more!

Structural Engineering

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